You are walking along the street, holding hands with the person you love, when you are suddenly seized, arrested, detained for fourteen days and then deported from the country. Why? Because the person you love is the same gender as you.
This is the reality for LGBT people in Russia. They are being increasingly persecuted and discriminated against by the law. "Promoting homosexuality to minors" is now a criminal offence and this includes public displays of affection between same-sex couples and even talking about homosexuality in any way which isn't negative.
It's not just the Russian government who are abhorrently homophobic; the attitudes and beliefs of many Russians have contributed to the problem and, bucking a global trend, homophobia is on the rise. A 2013 survey found that 74% of Russians believe homosexuality should not be accepted by society, compared to 60% in 2002. A recent survey found that 22% of Russians believe gay people should be forced to undergo treatment and 16% believe they should be isolated from society. Most horrific of all, 5%- 1 in every 20 Russians- believe that homosexuals should be liquidated. In Russia, introducing anti-gay legislation is an easy way for politicians to gain votes.
The police ignore violence against LGBT people. There have been many reported cases of victims of "corrective" rape or homophobic attacks going to the police only to be turned away when their sexuality is discovered.
A quarter of all LGBT teenagers in Russia have attempted suicide. While this statistic seems shocking, when one considers the climate in which they are growing up and all the hatred they must experience, it is no surprise.
As I write this, the 2014 Winter Olympics are due to soon be held in Sochi, Russia. Despite international outrage and calls for the Games to be boycotted in protest of Putin's poor human rights record regarding LGBT people as well as environmental and political activists, it seems that the Games will go ahead with the vast majority of Olympians attending. This has been justified by saying that it would be unfair on the athletes who've been training so hard to boycott the Games. Is it fair on the millions of LGBT Russians for the international community to seemingly condone Putin's actions?
There was another Olympic Games, not really so long ago, when the international community failed to take action despite the growing oppression of minority groups in the host country. Then, as now, police ignored beatings and crimes. Then, as now, discriminatory laws had already been put in place. Then, as now, the watching world stayed silent. That was the 1936 Games in Berlin, Germany.
Just six years later, the Holocaust began. For how long will we stand by before we take action to stop history from repeating itself?